Valentin Pazhetnov: «Water Needs Attention, Respect and Examination»

Professor Valentin Pazhetnov, the world famous expert in brown bears, has a more than 20 years experience in rehabilitation of orphaned bear cubs in Toropetsky district of Tver region, Russia. In the backwoods he brings up the beasts and helps them to adapt to life in the wild with his large and happy family. Now his unique center is supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Valentin told us about what water means to both humans and bears, and how not to lose the happiness that nature gives us.

Water sustains life, as well as the sun and the air. This is wealth and happiness, which is always with us and which we can not always appreciate. Water needs attention, respect and understanding that nothing in the world can exist without it - neither plants nor animals, nor ourselves. To have this respect and understanding we should read, watch and listen about water.

Water should be studied. Unfortunately, we know about water only on a whim and for what is passed from generation to generation. We need to understand what is water and to explore the human coexistence with water, to find out the reasons for its appearance on this small planet. Then we will be able to learn a lot. Now they say that there is water on Mars, so probably there was life! And maybe it is there even now.

In last two or three years, the entire world water level in the reservoirs has fallen down. I thought, it was only in our lakes, in Valdai, but it turns out, it is a global phenomenon. And this is happening in the lake Baikal, and in some rivers. This is connected with changes in the external environment. To understand the laws of this process, we need a special, comprehensive studies, which should be made not only by ecologists and biologists, but also by chemists, physicists, climatologists. The results of these studies should be published on the Internet, on television so that people could understand that water, the living substance, should be protected. It is necessary to be accustomed to such attitude from childhood. For example, in our children's environmental camp we talk about that, and guys can immediately put their hands in the lake to touch the water, to feel in reality how important it is.

Пажетнов живет и работает в деревне Бубоницы

The first thing, of course, is to focus on human activities. Man is changing the face of the earth, according to his needs and requirements, sometimes for fun. And he doesn't not think about what consequences this will have for the environment and water as well.

I enjoy every water: a small stream, and a big river, and the sea, and the ocean. I like even a puddle; life is also there. Everything makes friends with water. When a person might faints, sprinkle him with water, if he feels bad, give him glass of water. It is no coincidence at all. After all, our body is associated with each drop of water, from which it is made. And the environment, and life itself.

We need to predict the existence in the near future, and to develop programs of study and future life on earth, because now the situation is close to critical. This is wars, climate change which is caused by cutting of forests, and unrecoverable resources. If the oil is taken out of the ground, the water must come in its place. And from where can it be taken in these reservoirs? Of course, from here, from above, from us. People need to think about what will happen to us tomorrow.

На биостанции Пажетнов читает лекции о природе для детей

There's much talk about water saving, but you also need to do something. There's so much water, so why talk about it. A simple example, which deals with urban residents: if you shave in the bathroom, you must stop the water at some point of time. The same is when brushing your teeth. You'll save a lot of water and not spend it in vain.

As an ecologist, I can say that the ponds in the Tver region are one of the cleanest ones in the world. Valdai Hills retained, to some extent, its savagery. There was a research of heavy metal pollution, and it was found that there's much less of the so-called maximum permissible concentration of it in forests and waters. This is, of course, great.

Water is as important for bears as it is for us. They are very fond of it. Previously it was thought that the bear teaches her cubs to go into the water, but in fact, working with little ones, who grew up without mothers, we found out that at the first opportunity they go into a lake or river, bathe and enjoy.

This season, we have already released all of our bears. In total there were 14 of them. Despite the fact that hunting has been forbidden for three years in Russia, we don't get fewer cubs. The fact is that if a person accidentally disturbs a she-bear in winter, she runs away and her memory immediately locks the information about the place of her lair. She never returns to their kids. And they could die without help.


Overall we rehabilitated more than 200 bears. We give them nicknames that are logged, but we never talk to them. To distinguish them and to understand how they came to us, we put chips on them. Because first they can distinguishes by faces, but after a while the differences disappear. Moreover, since April the cage door is opened, people rarely go there, once a day, and sometimes see body. They go into the forest, sometimes for two or three days, then reappear, they live a semi-free life. The time when grown pups can go was calculated experimentally. At the age of 6 months bear is already able to survive on its own in the forest, orientates well, find food, and the basis of defensive behavior is formed. At any danger he immediately climbs on a tree and becomes unavailable for its main enemies.

For me there is no division by nationality or confession. We are all the same. We are all human beings. Look, what a miracle: all the elements that are close to us, are there in space, and we are made up of these elements, but we have quite a special combination of them, which builds our DNA.

Валентин Пажетнов и его супруга Светлана работают в заповеднике вместе

I am often asked why and for what I'm doing all this. I found myself in the Central Forest State Biosphere Reserve, in a place where I was currently planning and executing my work with such joy, which you do not always get on vacation. Nature and working with nature gave me something that can be called happiness. And time and providence allowed me to connect my life with the woman, with whom every day for me has been a joy for the past 56 years. We have our children, grandchildren, five great-grandchildren. Life should be protected and accept for what it is. And we shouldn't let the little things spoil our existence on our Mother Earth.

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